"Election candidates challenge!" read the email we got, "Endorse our pledges and we'll vote for you":
"The Instute of Ideas has published a list of '21 Pledges for Progress' ahead of the general election, and is challenging candidates of all parties to endorse them. The Institute of Ideas suggests voting for any candidate willing to back at least 15 of the pledges, whichever party they represent".The 21 pledges can be found here. As can be seen, they are reform measures to be achieved within capitalism. Despite the fact that we could sympathise with some of the measures such as those concerning freedom of speech and association and the call for a more rational approach to nuclear power and GM crops (though we wouldn't trust them to be implemented properly under capitalism), and although feudal relics like the monarchy and the house of lords will diappear in socialism, we had to reply saying we couldn't endorse any of the "pledges" to gain votes.
This is because we are standing on a straight programme of socialism (the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, with production solely for use, not sale and profit and distribution on the principle of "from each their ability to each their needs") as the only framework within which existing social problems can be lastingly tackled and only want the votes of those who want socialism rather than just particular reforms of capitalism.
So, we had to report that our score was 0 out of 21.
We know the Institute of Ideas of old. This has been formed by ex-leading "cadres" of the now defunct Leninist organisation, the "Revolutionary Communist Party". In fact, in the 1989 by-election in Vauxhall (which we gave a miss) they put up a candidate who got 177 votes. That candidate, Don Milligan, who has now abandoned Leninism, has written a recent piece about what life was like for the members of the RCP and the illusions they held. It can be found here. We imagine that this is still what life is still like inside the extant Leninist/Trotskyist organisation, the League for the Fifth International, which is planning to stand here. Which confirms why we ourselves have always opposed Leninism and said that those who want socialism should organise as an open, democratic party without leaders or leadership pretensions.